Future in Focus: SONM

in #blockchain6 years ago (edited)


Disclaimer: The Lisk Foundation in no way endorses projects that are interviewed for the series.

SONM is a decentralized fog computing platform that allows users to connect their personal devices to one virtual space, creating a decentralized marketplace where consumers and suppliers can rent and purchase computing power from one another to be used for specific computing tasks. On June 30th, the platform was successfully launched following one year of development. We had the chance to sit and chat with SONM co-founder Aleksei Antonov.

Jennifer: Please tell me a little more about the history of SONM and your relationship to blockchain technology. Why did the founders decide that the world needs SONM?

Aleksei: The concept for the project was born in 2016 after one of its co-founders, Sergei Ponomaryov, met a research scientist who specialized in testing methods for the computerized development of medicine. The analysis of new drug formulas, their chemical structure and the combination of components requires computing resources. Pharmaceutical corporations use supercomputers for these purposes. Covering the costs involved in the purchase or hire of supercomputers is only within the means of big businesses therefore small to medium-sized enterprises often do not have enough computing power. Performing calculations on personal computers takes a lot of time. Sergei came up with the idea of creating a distributed computing network with resources that could be rented. After I joined the project, we developed the idea further and thus the concept of a distributed computing network made up of user devices was born. Nobody uses personal devices to their full capacity so why not unite and use computing resources to benefit everyone? In this model, device owners from all over the world rent out the excess capacity of their equipment, and consumers rent the needed volume of computing resources. Who might be interested in paying for these resources?

  • Machine Learning (ML) and possibly Artificial Intelligence (AI) developers
  • Projects based around big data
  • Render farms
  • Research projects engaged in scientific computing
  • Individual miners, rigs and data centers — if there is a lack of real tasks, cloud miners can rent capacity and do some mining at a profit. This way the supplier’s machine is always being utilized.

We chose to do an ICO to secure funding. In June 2017, the SONM project completed its ICO campaign, raising approximately $42 million in ETH. Today, SONM is creating a distributed fog computing platform that will allow the owners of personal computers from around the world to offer their computing resources to earn money. Computing resources on the SONM platform will cost consumers up to 80% less in comparison to the typical cost of renting cloud servers. Moreover, with SONM, consumers will not be dependent on local data centers, since they will always be able to find suppliers of computing power in their city and abroad.

J: What issues does the fog computing market currently face?

A: There are two main areas in which the fog computing market is currently facing issues: data confidentiality and trusted environment. Data processed by fog computing nodes may contain confidential information, but we cannot trust hardware suppliers to maintain a high level of confidentiality without attempting to look into the private data. This is an industry-wide problem with no simple solution. However, some of SONM’s hardware suppliers can be trusted, because they are ordinary cloud providers selling their excessive capacity. They’re professionals and people who typically rent in the fog computing market trust them and so far, it works. There are also software techniques for mitigating these risks including the encryption of data on the application side so that the computing node is working with encrypted data. Every device has its own IP address. A hacker can use a fake IP address to gain access to information stored in specific fog computing nodes. In order to prevent this, a system to control access and detect intrusions should be used at all levels of the platform. During the development process, the SONM team ran into the issue of ensuring security during the execution of tasks. Since the supplier has full access to a PC running tasks, they can receive data and emulate tasks. Consequently, the customer runs the risk of receiving false data from the supplier or losing confidential data. This is an industry-wide problem that SONM is working on with an intermediate solution while also working quickly to achieve the best results. The project is currently seeking talented developers from around the world and to this end, we have organized the Decentralized Fog Computing Challenge, with a total prize fund of $200,000.

J: What problems will SONM solve?

A: These are several problems that our project would like to address: they involve local access to computing power, savings on equipment, savings on rental of cloud servers, and solving other real world problems. Data centers do not operate in every city in the world — far from it. But thanks to SONM, a user can find computing resources in any city they may find themselves in. This is what is known as a geo-distributed work model. Data centers cannot buy computing equipment cheaply and are obliged to acquire it at inflated prices. SONM customers do not have to buy equipment- they buy computing power in the required volume via the SONM marketplace. The individual price of an nVidia Tesla V100 computing module can reach upwards of $8,000. Fog computing customers on the SONM platform consume a comparable volume of resources to that of two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 GPUs for a total price of around $1,300; the cost of renting SONM fog computing is remarkably lower. The cost of renting fog computing resources is five to ten times lower than the costs associated with cloud services. Let’s compare a cloud computing package from Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SONM. The cost of renting the resources of a NVIDIA Tesla V100 (P3.2xlarge) computing module is $0.918 per hour through AWS. At that price, the cost of renting a NVIDIA Tesla V100 module comes out to $660 on average per month. The rental of the same volume of computing resources on the SONM platform will cost around $136.95 a month. We offer an alternative for miners who consume megawatts of electricity for Proof of Work consensus algorithms. SONM also wants to channel the computing resources of owners of personal devices into solving real world business problems. SONM fog computing is suitable for companies operating in Big Data, CGI rendering, AI learning, hosting, mining, and more.

J: Who do you have plans to collaborate and work with to achieve these goals of creating a better world?

A: We will continue to collaborate with companies that specialize in: cybersecurity — our project is currently working with Hacken; cloud data storage; development of services for neural network learning — we recently partnered with Dbrain to explore this area and also carry out joint research and development with Faceter; blockchain development. Our team will also continue to develop partnerships with IT projects that can refine the SONM decentralized fog computing platform.

J: Where do you envision SONM will be in five years?

A: We hope that in five years, SONM will become a major global platform for fog computing.

J: How do you anticipate blockchain technology will change the world? What is its potential?

A: The potential of blockchain technology is to greatly alter traditional business models. I will highlight three segments in which blockchain has already changed the world and will continue to do so.


Blockchain technology is widely used as a network for P2P transactions in Bitcoin, Ethereum and thousands of other varieties of cryptocurrency. Blockchain will change the behavior of financial organizations as it is likely that in the future, banks will utilize blockchain for international and interbank transfers, recording customer data and compliance procedures.


Blockchain is capable of altering our approach to data storage. Centralized servers are vulnerable to attack from hackers and centralized data storage centers are vulnerable to the falsification of users’ data. Blockchain offers a system for the distributed storage of data in which any alterations made to information are visible to all participants of the network, which eliminates the risk of falsification. The private key is not stored on servers and is only accessible to the account holder.

The Sharing Economy

Blockchain improves the business model for projects based on the sharing economy as the technology regulates the interaction between the supplier and consumer of services. Blockchain fulfills the role of a transparent ledger for operations while smart contracts automatize interaction between the supplier and customer. The SONM marketplace will use blockchain to record rental deals for computing resources, and smart contracts will regulate the stages of a deal and the payment process.

Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/SONM

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sonmdevelopment

BitcoinTalk: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1845114.0

Medium: https://blog.sonm.io/

Posted by us also on Medium

Is this one of the first posts that you're seeing about Lisk? See more at Lisk.io or Github.

Coin Marketplace

STEEM 0.25
TRX 0.11
JST 0.033
BTC 63282.43
ETH 3083.92
USDT 1.00
SBD 3.85